Everyone loves to laugh, which is why comedy movies have always been such a huge draw to audiences. Since the beginning of cinema, there have always been films designed to make audiences laugh out loud and the genre has changed a lot over the years. The 1980s were a particularly important decade for comedy films.
The 80s aren’t always so popular in terms of movies. Indeed, there are a lot of comedies that are painful to see again. Even some of the so-called classics of the time did not hold up particularly well. But there are also those undiscovered gems that prove there was a lot of laughs to be found. Here are the most underrated and overrated comedies of the ’80s.
ten Underrated: Fletch
Chevy Chase was once an icon of ’80s comedy with many classic films throughout the decade, but its best performance was in Fletch. Chase plays the role of a determined journalist who finds himself embroiled in a plot.
Fletch’s penchant for dressing up and posing as people is the perfect way for Chase to showcase his branding spirit. While the film was well received and even got a sequel, it is overshadowed by some of Chase’s greatest films. However, the fun and energetic film gives Chase his best character.
9 Surprise: Caddyshack
Just watching the cast of Caddyshack explains why it is considered a classic. The film follows the exploits of employees and golfers at a luxury golf resort over a summer. It stars Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield all giving hilarious performances.
While the movie is packed with memorable lines and hilarious moments, it’s a pretty bumpy movie to consider a classic. There isn’t a lot of script to speak of and the film really leans on its three superstars in supporting roles.
8 Underrated: Running scared
The boyfriend-cop movie has always been a staple in the comedy genre. The success of these films is often based on the quality of the two paired actors. It plays a big role in making Run in fear such a fun ride as Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal make a great team.
Hines and Crystal play Chicago cops who are forced to go on vacation after a drug lord tries to kill them. When they come back to finish their business, they find that the holidays have lost their edge. It’s a funny, forgotten action comedy with two cool tracks.
7 Surprise: Crocodile Dundee
Dundee Crocodile looks like a movie that could only be released from the ’80s. This fish out of the water comedy stars Paul Hogan as a tough Australian crocodile hunter who travels to New York with his new girlfriend or many frolics ensue.
The movie isn’t bad, but the fact that it received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay is a bit ridiculous. It’s a nice and light frolic with some good gags. But the stuff of someone from the outback trying to figure out New York City makes for a nice one-note movie.
6 Underrated: A Christmas Story
There are many classic Christmas movies that are a tradition to watch during the holiday season, like It’s a wonderful life and Scrooge. But one Christmas comedy that seems to be overlooked by people is A Christmas story.
The sweet and charming film is the simple story of a young boy named Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas. The movie is filled with the kind of joy and excitement that a child feels at Christmas. After being commercially disappointing on release, the film has slowly gained fans, but it remains one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
5 Overrated: The Cannonball Race
The cannonball race is a star-studded comedy in which a group of wacky characters take part in a road race across the country. The film is packed with famous faces from the era, including Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farah Fawcett, Sammy Davis Jr and Jackie Chan, to name a few.
Sadly, bringing all of these stars together is pretty much where the creativity left off with this movie. The plot serves as an excuse for these celebrities to go out with each other. Aside from a few fun car stunts, the movie is a pretty forgettable ride.
4 Underrated: Raising Arizona
The Coen brothers are among the best American filmmakers of all time, and many of their films are considered modern classics. However, Elevate Arizona remains one of their best but one of their most underrated movies.
The hilarious comedy stars Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter as a couple who can’t conceive, so they kidnap one from a wealthy family. The wacky characters and slapstick violence make it look like a live cartoon. While this may turn off some audiences, it is a smart and entertaining comedy.
3 Overrated: The Breakfast Club
John Hughes is one of the most important filmmakers of the 1980s. He is responsible for so many defining films of the decade and has helped launch the careers of many talented actors. The breakfast club is considered one of his best films and tells the story of a group of very different students who are stuck together in detention over the weekend.
The film has been hailed as giving a voice to the younger generation and their problems. While this is a good movie, the carbon copy characters seem so generic now. This may not be quite right as this film has probably influenced a lot of others, but it does not have the same lasting impact that Hughes’ other films have.
2 Underrated: Midnight Race
Robert De Niro is no longer a stranger to comedy these days, but there was a time when seeing him embrace his funny side was something new. Midnight race remains one of his best comedies and one of the most entertaining action comedies ever made.
De Niro takes on the role of a bounty hunter who must take a convict (Charles Grodin) across the country as rival law enforcement, mobsters and bounty hunters attempt to stop him. The cast is amazing, the comedy is hilarious, and the action is thrilling. It’s a wonder why this movie isn’t considered a classic by more people.
1 Overrated: Revenge of the Nerds
’80s comedies weren’t subtle at leaning into character archetypes. It shouldn’t be surprising that there has been a comedy about a bunch of highly stereotypical nerds taking on a fraternity of stereotypical jocks.
Revenge of the nerds was a comedy about the encouragement of the underdog and spawned three sequels. While there are some funny things about the movie, it’s also filled with a lot of petty and disturbing moments that make it terribly difficult for these nerds to root for them.
NEXT: 5 Sci-Fi Movies From The 80s That Are Way Underrated (& 5 That Are Overrated)
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